Sables, the new album from American progressives Vaura, kicks off with a drum pattern that sounds like it went missing from a Japan album in about 1982 and has only now found a home in which to nestle.
I mention this because, if you’re one of those people who likes to sit down with a new album and point out all the references to other records whilst sagely stating ‘well, they’re clearly influenced by Band X’ then you’re going to have a whale of a time with this record. Taking their cues from the more intelligent end of eighties gothic rock, post-punk and new wave, Vaura have created something of a tour de force with Sables. Sure, it sounds like a host of other acts – the guitars of Gorguts alumnus Kevin Hufnagel often bring to mind a mix of King Crimson and jangle-era Alex Lifeson, for instance – but the sum of all this is always at least as interesting as the parts, if you see what I mean.
No Guardians is staggeringly good, a mix of strident bass and angular guitars that’ll have fans of Tears For Fears salivating, and if the abrasive guitars on Eidolon are as metal as Vaura get in 2019, there’s still a veritable mountain for the open-minded heavy rock fan to get their teeth into throughout this beguiling record.
Basilisk couldn’t be more like Bauhaus if it tried, with vocalist Josh Strawn sounding like a Peter Murphy doppelganger, but the edifice is built in such a way as to make it entirely irresistible – carping is entirely futile in the face of music as well put-together and executed as this. The band end proceedings with the title track, another spartan call to the heart of all those who hold the early eighties, trenchcoats and pixie boots dear. The pulsating, drum-heavy mid section is modern goth rock in excelsis, and I have to say that, though there may be fans of Vaura who’ll bemoan the complete absence of metal on this record, there will be many more – me included- ready to embrace their new gothic best friends. An unmitigated success.
Sables is released on April 26th.